Spouse and cousin of drug trafficking ringleader sentenced to significant prison terms for their roles in drug distribution conspiracy
Seattle – A 44-year-old Renton, Washington, man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 11 years in prison for federal drug and gun crimes, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. David Christopher Pitts was arrested in December 2021, following an undercover investigation of his drug trafficking activities. At today’s sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones urged Pitts to recognize the damage drug addiction does in our community saying, “Look at all the people you see in our city clutching foil and a straw… You are feeding their addiction every day… They can’t pay their rent, they can’t feed their children… They may have an addiction because of what you put into the community… I want you to develop a conscience beyond the money you put in your pocket.”
“Mr. Pitts has consistently shown that he cannot live in the community without endangering others,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Firearms are destroying countless lives, and Mr. Pitts’ possession of 25 firearms, combined with his extensive drug trafficking activity, is alarming. I hope that this sanction will convince him to change his ways.”
According to records filed in the case, in November and December 2021, a person working with law enforcement purchased fentanyl from Pitts at his residence in Renton. After obtaining a search warrant, Seattle Police officers arrested Pitts without incident and searched his residence. In the main bedroom, officers found three different handguns – one of them stolen. In the closet of the bedroom, there was a hard-shell case containing methamphetamine, fentanyl, and Xanax bars. In a safe, in that same closet, investigators found heroin, cocaine, suboxone, ketamine, fentanyl pills, and medical grade fentanyl. There was also more than $55,000 in cash.
In a second bedroom, which Pitts had been using as a storage space, officers found fifteen handguns, four semiautomatic assault rifles, two bolt action rifles, and a 12-guage shotgun. Throughout the residence, there were numerous items that appeared to be stolen goods, such as power tools, computer equipment, laptops, and camera gear. Many of these items are often traded for drugs.
Pitts is prohibited from possessing guns due to two prior state convictions for possessing firearms while dealing drugs.
In asking for a 12-year prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Erin H. Becker wrote to the court, “Looking just at his fentanyl powder and pills, the defendant intended to enrich himself by distributing more than 470,000 lethal doses. Worse, many of the doses were disguised as pharmaceutical pills that would not put the user on notice that he was ingesting such a potentially dangerous substance…. In addition, the defendant possessed 25 firearms. Several of these guns were loaded, at least one was stolen, two had extended magazines, [and] all of them were possessed to facilitate his drug trafficking.”
“One fentanyl dose may be one too many” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “Considering the amount of fentanyl found in his residence, as well as the number of weapons and cash, Mr. Pitts posed an immediate and significant threat to the safety and security of our community. This case illustrates how, working with our partners, the FBI is committed to getting fentanyl off our streets.”
The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department as part of the FBI’s Violent Crime, Gang and Organized Crime Task Force.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin H. Becker.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.